Do you like compliments? How does it make you feel when someone compliments you? Maybe some of us feel encouraged or empowered. Some maybe feel awkward or deflect the compliments, feeling that we don’t deserve credit. Whatever the reaction, it’s interesting to note that we all feel something when someone affirms or compliments us. Why is that?
My personal opinion is that we were built to receive affirmation; likewise we’re built to GIVE it. Check out some of these examples:
Romans 1:8 – “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.”
Ephesians 1:16 – “For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers…”
Phillipians 1:3-5 “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”
In these letters, Paul understood the value of encouraging the recipients before discussing the issues. Perhaps the most acclaimed encourager was Barnabas (who’s name literally means “The Son of Encouragement”). Take a look:
Acts 9:26-27 – And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.”
Barnabas stood by the side of Saul who had previously been persecuting Christians. He listened to Saul’s testimony about his meeting with God on the road to Damascus and how he had been preaching about it. Barnabas chose to lift up Saul instead of condemning him for his previous acts.
During our Kingdom Groups this week, we discussed the spiritual warfare, in which we are currently engaged in. One of the enemies tactics is to attack our self worth. I think this manifests itself in the manner of neglecting to encourage and affirm others, EVEN our enemies. Or, sometimes we may choose not to share a compliment because we figure, “They must hear it all the time”. Encouragement is a weapon. When we affirm others, it’s a huge blow to Satan and his army because we are bolstering our true identity in the eyes of God – not the lies that Satan tells us about ourselves.
We (myself included) need to learn how to give and receive affirmation more frequently. It will help us and others remember our true identity in Christ, even when we’re too blind to see it ourselves. You never know who may believe they aren’t valued, or are desperate for someone to tell them they are worth something. All of us have special gifts and attributes that are worth complimenting. A well timed note or compliment may have bigger impact than you could ever know. We will only become stronger, more confident people of God when we encourage others.